AP0015_Alan Pardew_Newcastle_United_NUFCWho Are They?

Anzhi are from a part of Russia called Dagestan, a ‘federal republic’ in the South between Naboo and Tattooine. The club itself is just over 20 years old and began a second spell in the Russian Premier League in 2010, shortly before being given as a gift to local billionaire Suleyman Kerimov in return for a substantial investment in the team and club infrastructure. It sounds too good to be true but things in the ‘federal republic’ are never without a dark side.

In May of 2011, Anzhi beat Lokomotiv Moscow 2-1 in a game reported to be rigged, leading to the Lokomotiv boss Yuri Krasnozhan being sacked. The Russian Football Union refused to investigate the case, instead giving Krasnozhan a job as manager of quickly formed national team Russia-2. Within a few months Krasnozhan was the new manager of Anzhi and within another few months Russia-2 had been disbanded. Krasnozhan was Anzhi manager for two months before he was sacked, the team not having played a game under him. Suspicious? Not at all, not if they know where I live.

Who manages them:

At the time of this ‘absolutely no scandal at all’ Guus Hiddink was ruining his reputation as a national team manager who could do no wrong. After successfully managing Holland, South Korea, Australia and Russia, who he guided to a Euro 2008 semi final place, Hiddink had failed to secure the Turkey national side a place in Euro 2012 and was approached to take over at Anzhi. In the last 12 months he has continued their development and they are currently second in the Russian Premier League at the half way point.

Apart from having a comedy Dutch accent only bettered by Shteve McClaren, Guush is best known for being regarded as one of the best coaches in the world though it’s worth pointing out at this stage that despite his brilliant record as a national coach, as a club manager his only successes have come at PSV where he won 6 Dutch titles, 4 Dutch cups and a European cup in two different spells. In-between, he won nowt at Fenerbahce, Valencia, Real Madrid and Real Betis.

We know him in England for winning the FA Cup at Chelsea in 2009 but that hardly puts him up there with Mourinho and Guardiola, unless Avram Grant and Roberto Di Matteo are up there too. He is a character though, he once piled into the Mestalla crowd while boss of Valencia to take down an offensive racist banner put up by the home fans. If he carries that crusade on in Russia he’ll be so busy in the crowd he’ll never be able to watch a match.

Who have we seen before:

Samuel Eto’o played for Mallorca when we knocked them out of this competition in 2004 but earns about 200K a week more now and Yuri Zhirkov and Lassana Diarra both played here for Chelsea. Diarra said that it was Eto’o who had persuaded him to join Anzhi from Real Madrid and not the size of the wages on offer.  “He’s like a brother to me,” said Lass, “why can’t we succeed together?” That’s also what Anakin Skywalker said about Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of The Sith.

Layout 1A Special mention for: 

Will.i.an. He’s probably not going to play today and that will be a shame for those who wanted to see the former Black Eyed Peas singer after his shock winter transfer.  Never fear though you Black Eyed Peas fans, rumours are that Nile Ranger is taking up Will.i.an’s place in the band after the conclusion of his very own ‘Where Is The Love’ 2012 tour of Newcastle City Centre in his XR3.

Are we going to win:

Whatever happens let’s hope that it is a million times more exciting and a whole lot warmer than the first leg. Hiddink probably fancies his chances of getting the goals he needs at SJP and the Anzhi players obviously didn’t fancy that ice covered artificial pitch in Moscow, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the old Walker Lightfoot Centre 7-a-side pitches were removed.  Sing the lads to victory tonight, they’ll need our help. You never know, if we get through to the quarter finals, we might be able to go to the away leg this time.


desree 5pts

Relegation will be disastrous, Rafa won't stay, Ashley won't want him to stay. Even if we stay up I can see rafa leaving as he won't be given the funds to rebuild the team. I'm all for being positive and Rafa has been an amazing catch, he has given us belief, but lets not believe all our own cr@p about 'loving the fans'

Bobbi the shill
Bobbi the shill 5pts

Fat boy is an expert at buying time, he's done it again with this appointment. One day the penny will drop. Actually, for some it never will.

fromtheheed 5pts

I was alarmed to read, true or not that Everton are to offload Martinez. My thoughts were this is an ideal club for Rafa and be next to his family. However, the Liverpool connection may dissuade him from taking up that position.

I, like one or two others believe Rafa is loving his time at Newcastle and it's all down to the fans.

He's put a lot of work into saving us, and if the rumours are to be believed will be paid handsomely if we stay up.

Either way he will need to rebuild, he only requires a couple of players to get us out of the championship (let's hope it doesn't come to that) then he can rebuild with quality players.

His can create a Dynasty, that is of course if Ashley let's him do the job without hindrance.

There doesn't appear to be any managerial jobs out there that would appeal to Rafa, Bayern Munich, ManU, Man City, all posts filled, why not stay with Newcastle and enjoy a fresh challenge.

Rafa to stay.

1957 5pts

Personally I can't decide which way he will jump. I doubt he would have come in the first place without getting some assurances about what happens if we go down, also remember his negotiations were not supposed to be with Charnley so you have to assume it was someone higher in the food chain, so he must consider it an option. Even if he was going to stay now isn't the time to announce it.

That said if an offer from a top club came along, say Arsenal, I've no doubt he could leave

ArtyH 5pts

I think Rafa is falling in love with the fans and the club! Even if the worst happens, he will be in charge of who comes or goes, and I think there will be a huge clearout come the summer. What better way than to start from scratch with a team of his choosing and his own build with such astronomical potential? I really think this is too good a chance to miss for our Rafa. If results go against us I can see Rafa storming the league next year and it will do wonders for his CV. 

Incidentally I dont think he is a man who would walk away from a job half done as it may well effect his reputation even more than it would if he failed in the championship. 

Given the support by the fans ( and he has this in spades ) and the owner and left to do his own running of the club I can see NUFC becoming a respected club again, and even the owner getting some reflected glory. 

Hughie 5pts

Rafa is a man for a new challenge. He and his coaches have already demonstrated ability that Messrs Pardew, Carver and Mclaren couldn't, with his tactical nous and persuading under performing players to do so . The Championship would certainly be a new challenge-- probably tougher than any other second tier league in the world-- and better than many top tier leagues. Even if he failed at the first go in that league his reputation is such that he is just about guaranteed a top job anywhere in Europe and has little to lose. If the Toon pay him handsomely-- ie a top PL salary-- then why not stay? 

DownUnderMag 5pts

Rafa has already increased his already stellar reputation, if we go down there is nothing he is getting blamed for and I think universally everyone will say that he was brought in too late to clear up too big a mess.  I just can't see him staying if we go down, he will have too many offers from elsewhere (given his Liverpool connections i'd be surprised to see him take over Everton...but nothing surprises me in football these days).

To be honest I can see plenty of clubs being interested in him even if we do stay up and we will be needing to give him a lot of reassurances that old mistakes/restrictions won't be repeated and that he won't be getting players given to him by Carr, won't be having players sold out from under him without adequate replacements or any other crazy crap that has gone on here since Ashley's takeover.  Rafa doesn't need to be in a struggling side long term and will be looking to push up the league with us and if he doesn't get the backing he not only needs but after this turnaround deserves then I can see him heading elsewhere.